Art Unboxed,  Thoughts

Art Unboxed Repurposing

Have you ever did a quick sketch that did not turn out well? Admittedly there are times when you can’t save it, and have to toss it, but that’s not always the case. That sketch can be part of repurposing in a number of ways.

Take the two pictures above of a famous chef. The sketch had good hair, and was okay for a sketchbook, but it had problems. Instead, I used it as a template or pattern for the digital image to the right of it.

I was able to repurpose the ink sketch as a pattern for the digital in Procreate. As I said, at times, you just have to start over, but not every time. You can use the original as inspiration, or a template to rework, it still has value.

There are things I do and don’t like about both, but I would not have the one without the other. I’ve seen times when I liked the sketch more than the painting, or vice versa, and been wrong. People viewed each differently than I had, which goes to show the artist doesn’t always know what the person who looks at their art will think.

It’s a great reminder, not only that art is subjective, but to help keep us all from assuming we know more than we do. It’s been my experience that assumptions can cause more trouble than anything else. It’s also an exciting reminder that no matter how experienced you become, there is more to know and to learn.

In a sense, this is also repurposing in art, as what you may not expect to work, turns out to be exactly what someone else wants. For example, of all the paintings I’ve ever completed, the one that hangs in our home is not my favorite, but my wife likes it. Because I value her opinion, it has given me an appreciation for something I would have otherwise forgotten.

In art, as well as life, we must know when to move on, but not be so quick we discard something valuable. Whether it’s a relationship or a painting, it may have a greater value than we realize on first glance. Of course if it’s a relationship, those are far more precious than any drawing or painting.

A wiseman once said that the relationship is always more important than the argument. Whether it takes swallowing your pride and apologizing, even when you don’t have to, or accepting someone else’s apology, it’s worth it to save a relationship.

I would encourage you to find an old sketch, idea, or painting you were ready to toss, and give it another try. I had this also happen with an acrylic floral recently. It was going no where, so I painted it all white.

The next day or two, when I came back to it, because I had used a palette knife, the shapes of the flowers were visible. The problem wasn’t the shape of the floral in this case, it was the colors. I wouldn’t have seen that though, if I had tossed it, or if the pattern hadn’t been strong enough to show through.

Many times, like my acrylic, our repurposing is accidental, but if we’ll learn to be more intentional about looking for the option, we can be amazed. You and I may find a treasure under a smudge or two, which just has to be erased for the better to shine through. One last quick example you may know, they repurposed wall paper paste, and called it Play Doh. You never know what you have until you take a second look.

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